Friday, February 23, 2007

Diamond Joins Sports Radio Show in Yet Another Example of Local Good-Ol'-Boy Networking

Excitement was high—well, not really—when we discovered today that former Tennessee Titans executive Jeff Diamond (left) will join jock DJ Bob Bell on WNFN-106.7’s “The Sports Guys” in the drive-home radio slot, 4-6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. Jonathan Shaffer, whoever he is, will co-host from 3-4 p.m. until Diamond can show up for work.

After not having his contract renewed by the Titans in 2004—he rather quietly slinked away—Diamond, in July 2005, signed on as a senior consultant with The Ingram Group, a Nashville-based public affairs firm, which figured that Diamond’s sports background would help them keep active as players with business involving the GEC, the Predators, and the new Sounds stadium deal.

When Diamond’s move to Ingram was announced, the company released a bio that stated:

“Diamond served as team president of the Tennessee Titans from 1999 to 2004. During his tenure with the team, the Titans had an NFL-best regular season record of 56-24, reached the playoffs four times in the five years and won the AFC Championship and played in Super Bowl XXXIV in the 1999 season. Prior to joining the Titans, Diamond spent 23 years with the Minnesota Vikings, rising to serve as team senior vice president. In 1999, The Sporting News named him the NFL's Executive of the Year.”

Well, actually, Diamond did come to the Titans in 1999, but it was later in the year when he arrived, and the idea that he had anything to do with the Titans getting to the Super Bowl is laughable. In 23 years with Minnesota, working his way up the ladder, Diamond was there when the Vikings, while fielding some decent teams, never won a conference championship. They last played in the Super Bowl following the ‘76 season, the year Diamond joined them as an intern. But Diamond was in charge during the ’98 season, after which the Vikings infamously blew the conference championship to the Atlanta Falcons.

In fact, during Diamond’s time with the Titans, the team went downhill, and the Ingram press release carefully includes the ‘99 season in his resume, and excludes the ‘04 season, when the team went 5-11 and began a slide to 17-31 through the most recent three seasons. Before his hiring at Ingram, Diamond was working as a “sports-industry consultant” and “commentator” along with making "numerous" speaking appearances. He's also appeared on the radio as a hockey and football "expert."

Diamond has a nasal, fairly unpleasant, short-shelf-life radio voice, which will replace the equally unpleasant hillbilly radio voice of Boots Donnelly, the former MTSU and local high school football coach. Both of these guys heavily troll the waters of Nashville’s good-ol’-boys sports networking club. And apparently, whatever Diamond is doing for the Ingram organization, they can spare him for 10 hours a week while he has fun acting like he can colorfully communicate a lot about sports. Donnelly took an administrative job with a football league for kids, but chances are he’ll still show up on the radio. Once you’re in the good-ol’-boys club in local sports media, there’s little chance you’ll ever be replaced by new or different talents.

Today’s inaugural show with Diamond was basically a “blast Pacman Jones” fest, with Diamond and Donnelly and Bell going on and on about sports role models and what a disgrace Jones is as a human being. Strictly “old-school” commentary is what it was, with everyone bemoaning that the Titans’ gifted defensive back wasn’t a Boy Scout.

Well, Pacman definitely has his problems, but as radio the jock-speak was pretty moldy. Proving that the more things change in local sports media, the more they stay the same.

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